Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Will our politicians learn a lesson from teachers' survey?

Half of Northern Ireland's teachers have suffered physical or verbal abuse in the classroom. Releasing the results of an Irish National Teaching Organisation survey, union representative Tony Carlin commented that his members "'do not feel safe because of a lack of secure entrances to schools, aggressive behaviour, intimidation, bullying and threatening behaviour from parents and other family members." He also added that "teachers are concerned that no one is taking their health and safety and welfare seriously any more".

It's a sad state of affairs because it says an awful lot about our society.

After all, an apple doesn't fall far from the tree. We have parents who are not only raising disruptive, violent kids but are supporting them in their behaviour.

Heaven help anyone interfering with our wee buck's "rights". And do our political leaders help those at the chalkface? Do they heck. Yes, there are words of praise but where are the laws allowing schools to take swift and firm action against unruly kids?

Teachers should be teachers, not thinly disguised frontline social workers.

The terrible truth is it takes a very remarkable person to be prepared to face the grinding psychological warfare that is school life in many areas of this place. Yet will the politicians do anything to help teachers feel safe going about their job?

Will there be more money, more thought, more power given to schools? Will they allow the courts to punish the parents of near-uncontrollable children for their behaviour?

Or will the dog once again have eaten their homework?

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